Being fairly uninterested in anything political, I’ve never really bothered about the local stories that suggest you better not try and get in the way of Glasgow Council if it’s set its mind on something, especially if it’s a pie it might happen to have its finger in, and just dismissed them as the grumblings of a few malcontents.
I may be wrong.
Currently, the council is intent on leasing part of Pollok Park, an area gifted to the city (ie not to the council for it to lease for gain), to a private venture and allowing ‘High Wire Forest Adventure’ operator Go Ape to create one of its aerial assault courses and walkway in a secluded area of the country park’s woodland. The council has a clear financial interest, and surprisingly has voted in favour of the development, despite much local opposition and little support.
The council is also intent on sweeping away Paddy’s Market from its home on a site leased from Network Rail, too close to the city’s High Court, and described by the council as a “crime hot spot”. An executive committee has approved a report on the future of Paddy’s Market, by 13 votes to 4 – the report recommended that the council take over the lease of Shipbank Lane with a rent of £100,000 per year, and stated that the council could “positively raise the profile of the area over the next five years” and possibly operate a new market and arts-related development. It means the authority can now go-ahead with plans to regenerate the area around the lane, which the council has described as a “crime hot spot”.
The local SNP councillor voted against the plan, saying “Traders must be given the opportunity to negotiate new sub-lets with the council before their leases with Network Rail are terminated.”
The traders don’t want to be thrown out, those that work there don’t want to be thrown out, those that buy and sell there don’t want to lose the place (and just because the council call it a “crime hot spot” doesn’t mean it is), but some sort of trendy arts-related development near the re-vamped Glasgow Green would bring in bigger wallets, and make it easier to have a swipe at The Barras in a few years, and take that area more up-market too, to take advantage of the tidy-up there, and the re-siting of the Doulton Fountain.
The above was being rattled together in spare moments while I was fighting with our recent server move.
Having had a quick scout around for any new information, I discovered a web site devoted to the whole affair, which I hadn’t seen appear during earlier searches, and which reports that the there may be a U-turn in the plans, and that they may be prepared to incorporate the current and legitimate traders – maybe.
There’s on online petition on the Save Paddy’s Market web site.
And an article and video news item on stv.tv
Traders from Glasgow’s Paddy’s Market look set to try and thwart Glasgow City council plan to commandeer their patch, and turn it into yet another manufactured tourist attraction, perhaps modelled after the dreadful Glasgow:Scotland with style enigma, which I find offensive every time I see it – and I live there!
Stallholders at the market, established there for some 200 years in one form or another, have proposed acquiring the lease for the area from Network Rail by setting up a no-for-profit trust to run the market, rather than having it taken over by the council, and having it sterilised under council plans to regenerate the area.
The traders say they would fence off the area, and check the background of those trading there, to help cut crime in the area, which the council describes as “a crime ridden midden”.
Continuing to show reinforce its local reputation for disregarding locals wishes, Glasgow City Council has come under fire from the families and traders that make up Glasgow’s Paddy’s Market Traders’ Committee.
The council plans to improve the area as part of its regeneration plans.
The proposals came as a shock to the Paddy’s Market Traders’ Committee. As its spokeswomen, Patsy Woodward, explained: “No-one from the council ever bothered to come and talk to us about these plans. All we knew about them was what we read in the local paper.”
The council’s plans describe the transformation of shops in the railway arches into studios for young artists, and of turning the area into something like Camden Market in London.
George Ryan, who chairs Glasgow Council’s Regeneration Committee, describes it as being “..a bit tired“, pointing out shrubs growing wild out of the stonework above the stalls. He also expressed concern about what he calls the “exceptional criminality, those attempted murders, assaults on police and drug dealing, not to mention the counterfeit goods which are sold from the market.” One of his colleagues on the council even went so far as to describe it as a “crime ridden midden“, something that really upset the people who work there.
Patsy Woodward said, “If they wanted to improve the look of this place, why didn’t they ask us? We could paint out the graffiti on the walls. We could put gates at each end of the street to keep the criminals out at night. But no. They just want to get rid of us.”
Stallholders and traders at Paddy’s Market say the media has grossly misrepresented crime rates in the market, and the the criminal activities they refer to have nothing to do with legitimate, hard-working people who make their living there.
They all pointed their fingers at the residents of a local hostel, set up next to them by the council. As one of them put it: “these are the folk the council can’t house anywhere else. But they’re druggies and, where they are, that’s where the dealers are. When the dealers come, crime follows.”
Although the council has said it will buy out all the properties by August 2008, the traders have queried Network Rail, which own the land the market is situated on, and is actually investing in improving the fabric of the arches and shops beneath, and been told that nothing has been tabled with them.
Paddy’s Market has been part of Glasgow’s folklore for some 200 years, and in many respect hasn’t changed much, but it may be out of luck, located only yards from the city’s High Court, and in the way of plans to tidy up the area, continue the clean up of areas around Glasgow Green, develop flats, and attract fresh money into the city.
This isn’t the ony proposal that’s been raised in the area, as last year saw a similar issue, when proposals were raised regarding the The Barras, also claimed to be a den of crime, and portal for counterfeit goods, and also occupying or bordering land where new flats have been developed in recent years, and could be expanded upon if The Barras were removed.
(I’ve tried reading through this news item, to find the part where it mentions consulting with the existing traders and tennants of Shipbank Lane – Paddy’s Market – but I don’t seem to be able to find it. Must be a problem with my old eyes.)
Council to develop Shipbank Lane as part of ‘cultural quarter’
Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee made a decision today (20 March) that means that Shipbank Lane – commonly known as Paddy’s Market – could become part of Glasgow’s cultural quarter.
The Executive Committee authorised the Executive Director of the Council’s Development and Regeneration Services to enter into negotiation with Network Rail with a view to taking on the leases at Shipbank Lane for a combination of uses, including sub-leasing to appropriate arts and business organisations.
The development of this site is seen as key to the continuing regeneration of the Merchant City, where long-term investment has delivered a significant improvement in the public environment, increased property investment and steady growth in the local investment base.
Despite the positive changes, crime and anti-social behaviour has increasingly become a significant problem in Shipbank Lane, and is seen to have a very detrimental impact on the area and the efforts to improve the Merchant City. The multi-agency costs of tackling these problems totalled £277,000 in 2006/7.
There are plans to develop sites in the immediate vicinity of Shipbank Lane, such as two St Enoch developments and the creation of a cultural quarter stretching from Trongate to the Briggait, and the crime and anti-social behaviour at Shipbank Lane must be tackled to complete the development of the area.
The negotiations between Network Rail and Glasgow City Council should result in the Council securing the lease at a level lower than that currently charged, in recognition of a social responsibility on behalf of the network to help resolve them.
The proposals for the Shipbank Lane site would aim to eliminate the problems of criminality on the site through a range of opportunities, including sub-letting space to artist’s organisations, meet operational and storage requirements for the Council and Glasgow Community Safety Services and the development of a high-quality weekday or weekend market.
Councillor George Ryan, Executive Member for Development and Regeneration at Glasgow City Council, said: “The takeover of the lease by the Council would lift the whole area, fitting in with the regeneration of the Clyde and the Merchant City and eradicating the anti-social element. Shipbank Lane could become a tourist destination, a very high quality arts and crafts market and a cultural venue, with aspiring artists selling their work.”